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Old 12-12-2006, 05:17 AM   #1
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Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

Hello,

I am looking for some advice/answers. Three years ago I was diagnosed with clinical depression and prescribed fluoxetine, 20mg per day. I find the anti-depressants very effective.

Possibly as a result of my depression and other negative life experiences.

In March, of this year, I experience what has been diagnosed as a severe panic attack. I didn't know what it was at the time and after several other attacks and tests at the hospital, I was told it was anxiety. I was not prescribed any different drugs or any other form of treatment. At the time I was very stressed as I was doing my finals at University. The inital attack was triggered after a night of binging on drink. Further attacks proceeded to be triggered by being tired, caffiene, and hang overs. They were especially acute during my exams but they practically disappeared once they had finished.

Over the past few months I have cleaned up my act. I don't smoke anymore I get exercise and eat and sleep well. I occasionally drink wine at the weekends. I feel calm and happy. I feel that I would like to try to come off the anti-depressants, gradually.

The only problem I have is that after I have had a few glasses of wine, the next day I usually experience strong feelings of anxiety or have a full blown panic attack. Does anyone know why this is when I otherwise feel fine and do not experience anxiety at any other time?

The feelings of anxiety last all day until I sleep at night and the next day I feel fine. Does anyone experience this too? Why does it happen? Have I messed up the chemistry in my brain so much that it can't cope anymore? Is it the anti-depressants? (It never happened prior to being on them) Will I always get them after I have drank? Does it mean I have to give up alcohol?

Thank you for any advice. I don't seem to be able to find these answers with either my Doctor or on the internet.

Many thanks.

Last edited by ms_mod; 12-12-2006 at 03:42 PM. Reason: Please read the sticky post at the top of this board "Drug Use, A Must Read Before Posting." Ms_Mod

 
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Old 12-12-2006, 06:24 AM   #2
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Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

I have the same. I quit drinking and feel much better.

 
Old 12-12-2006, 07:10 AM   #3
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Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

I have been told that drinking can actually bring on panic attacks.

 
Old 12-12-2006, 07:22 AM   #4
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Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

My panic attacks was a result of many things including drinking.

Too much coffee
Working out too much
dieting the wrong way - atkins diet
drinking (not really a drinker - got drunk one night- panic ever since)

 
Old 12-12-2006, 10:19 AM   #5
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Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

But does anyone know why this happens?

 
Old 12-12-2006, 10:32 AM   #6
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Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

I think it may have something to do with the way the liver metabolizes alcohol and blood sugar changes. I read that somewhere, but it's been awhile so I can't remember the exact details. Never the less, the article I read said that process brought on panic symptoms in people who were prone to it. Anxiety and depression seem to go hand in hand for many people. If you have one, some have the other at some point too.

 
Old 12-12-2006, 10:50 AM   #7
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Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

Hi,

My p-doc has discouraged me drinking any alcoholic drinks as she said they can make anxiety & panic worse. Feels better while you have a drink, but when the alchol wears out of your system, anxiety/panic can kick in bad.
So, I avoid alcohol- have just a little bit once in a while.

 
Old 12-12-2006, 05:04 PM   #8
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Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

I get the same thing after I drink. I thought it was from my blood sugar, I guess I should examine it more.

Sue

 
Old 12-12-2006, 05:31 PM   #9
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Exclamation Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

it happens to me and YES I know why it happens. A nurse with anxiety explained it to me.

Alcohol is a stimmulant - we stay away from stimulants because it increases our anxiety - coffee, soking, drugs etc. At the time that we are drinking we are so relaxed that all our anxiety is gone. The next day it is a depressant - that is what a hangover is coming down from the night before (it is like coming down from drugs) the body was so high and loving the feeling that it wants more. This is how people become alcoholics. So in short we are an overstimulated, dehydrated, tired body the next day. Sleep is a big thing. When you drink you normally go to bed late and we all know that our anxiety is worse when we don't get sleep - or much sleep. See people with out anxiety don't read anything in to their hangovers - BUT their heart still races, their hands shake and they feel like crap, they just don't feel it like we do because they are not as intune with their body as much as people with anxiety. I know this I check my hubby after we have been out and our body symptoms are the same just my MIND makes mine 10 times worse

I know this feeling oh so well, I am young and I go out say I am only going to have a couple of drinks and end up having a heap - the next day I am hopeless. I make myself drink heaps of water and I mean 4 - 5 litres and eat at least something and try and get more sleep.

So there are really 2 choices - tell yourself that it is anxiety the next day and try and get over it that way, this is the hard option because some times it can last for days. or option 2 stop drinking!

 
Old 12-12-2006, 06:12 PM   #10
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Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

Actually, alcohol is a depressant and actually depresses your central nervous system. This is why after a few drinks you feel relaxed and happy. The problem is the next day. After drinking on and off for an extended time the alcohol actually changes your brain chemistry to accomodate the change that alcohol is making in the brain, so you are actually starting to build up a dependancy. Dependency means you need a little alcohol to feel normal or free from anxiety. In quiting you may or may not feel withdrawl symptoms.

The hangover also completely emaciates your body of sugar and can cause severe hypoglycemia in the morning which is why you feel naseus and sick to your stomach or incredibly hungry. Hypoglycemia can also cause anxiety and panic attacks to people more prone to such events.

Alcohol works almost the exact same way as the drug class Benzo's work. However, alcohol has a lot more side effects in the short term and long term. This is why so many people with anxiety dissorder drink a lot. It is because it actually helps them to feel better until the next day and then they need to drink again and it creates a viscious cycle and can destroy your liver and life.

I found myself going down that road, so I quit drinking and smoking to see what kind of effect it would have on me and it honestly caused my anxiety to flare up more in the short term. Of course it has gotten better over time, but the first month to 2 months were very hard, due to the withdrawl from both cigarettes and alcohol. I didn't really crave alcohol though, the cigarettes were much harder to quit.

Anyway, if you have experienced anxiety after a night of drinking, your body is telling you that you are doing too much drinking. I can go out now after a year of no alcohol and have a couple drinks and not feel horrible the next day becuase my liver is starting to regenerate and my brain chemistry is not used to the constant intake of alcohol and it's sedative effects. I never binge drink anymore because I know how it will make me feel the next day and as I get older I pay more and more each and every time.

I can't stress how important a decision it is to quit all toxic substances including caffeine. Avoid them all at all costs and it will make your life much more manageable. I even try to regulate my intake of sugar to some degree although I have my moments. This may not completely eliminate your anxiety and or depression, but it will go a long way towards getting you better and your body will also start feeling healthier almost immediately. Exercise will help to get the toxins out of your system as well.

 
Old 12-13-2006, 02:16 AM   #11
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Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

Thank you so much for your advice. I really do appreciate it.

 
Old 12-13-2006, 10:35 AM   #12
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Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

Well, you're really not supposed to drink on any of these antidepressants. It can cause other side effects, and the alcohol is probably mixing with your meds and rendering them less effective, hence why you're having an attack. PLus, once you get it in your head that I had an attack after drinking, you can make yourself help having them. My advice is to either stop drinking or do so in moderation. Have a glass of wine, and that's it, and see how things go teh next day. But, if you convince yourself that the attack is impending, it will be.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stargazer_lilly
But does anyone know why this happens?

 
Old 12-14-2006, 11:24 AM   #13
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allsorts HB User
Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

It happens to me too. I really need to quit alcohol and caffein altogether really.

 
Old 01-25-2007, 07:03 AM   #14
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Re: Panic attacks the after drinking alcohol

Yes, alcohol give me panic attacks, usually during the late night or early morning hrs. My heart races and beats harder, shaky, stomach hurts, etc...
Very uncomfortable, and that's only after maybe 2 drinks, that's all I can handle at a safe level. Anything more than that, I'm in trouble..

 
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